Bishop Martínez Becomes Interim Mission Leader

September 11, 2009

By Elliott Wright*

Sept. 4, 2009 | NEW YORK (UMNS) - Bishop Joel N. Martínez will serve as interim general secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries while a search is conducted for a new chief executive.
The retired bishop was president of Global Ministries' board of directors for two four-year terms, concluding last October. He is stepping into a position left vacant by the resignation for health reasons of the Rev. Edward W. Paup, who held the position for one year.
Martínez' appointment, effective immediately, was announced by Bishop Bruce Ough of West Ohio, board president, with the approval of the agency's executive and personnel committees.
"We are fortunate that Bishop Martínez is available to provide leadership in this time of unfortunate transition," Ough said. "He is well versed in the goals and culture of the General Board of Global Ministries. He has a deep commitment to mission and is familiar with the operations of the agency."
Martínez said he is committed to the agency's collaborative work with the Council of Bishops, other general agencies, annual conferences and United Methodist congregations in "making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."
"As I undertake the responsibilities of interim general secretary of Global Ministries, I covet the prayers of the church for our board of directors, staff, missionaries, mission partners, and myself as we serve all of God's children throughout the world," he said.
Experience with agency
Bishop Martínez was the leader of the denomination's San Antonio Area when he retired from the active episcopacy a year ago.
He is a native of Seguin, Texas, and received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1961 and a master of divinity from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, in 1965. He was ordained an elder and became a member of the Rio Grande Annual Conference in 1965.
Before his election to the episcopacy in 1992, Martínez was pastor, district superintendent, and a staff member of the Board of Global Ministries from 1975 to 1981. He has been active in justice ministries, and he is a co-author, with his wife, Raquel, of Fiesta Cristiana, a multilingual collection of liturgical resources.
Search underway
A search process for a successor to Paup is in progress, Ough said. He indicated that the personnel committee expects to have a new chief executive by early 2010.
Paup, who had been on medical leave since August 10, resigned effective September 1.
Announcing the resignation, Ough said that medical examinations indicated the presence of a brain tumor, and he asked the agency staff and church at large to join in praying for Paup.
*Wright is the information officer of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.